Beautiful Lighthouses of Maine
Those who have visited The Captain Lord Mansion will tell you that the inn is distinctly romantic and stately, offering a relaxing spa getaway where all the senses are pampered and body, mind and soul find the peace they crave. After enjoying a soothing Couple’s Spa Experience, you may wish to explore some of the most romantic sites in Maine: the beautiful Maine lighthouses, all of which are just a short drive away from the Mansion and which boast a rich and intricate history that makes them a must-see for visitors from all over the world.
Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse, ensconced near the entrance to the York River, is perched on ‘The Nubble’: a rocky island whose barren simplicity is broken by the graceful lighthouse. Although sailors first requested that the lighthouse be built in 1807, it wasn’t until 1874 that President Rutherford B. Hayes would set aside a then-impressive amount of $15,000 for its construction. The lighthouse, which was completed in 1879, is still in use today. Its brick and cast-iron tower stands proud at 41 feet, and it is one of the last eight lights in Maine to rely on the Fresnal Lens. In 1985, the lighthouse was placed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Voyager spacecraft, which carries images of the most beautiful constructions and natural spaces on the Planet, holds a special place for a spectacular photograph of this lighthouse, considered one of the nation’s most beautiful. Visitors are welcome to visit the nearby Sohier Park to paint and photography the lighthouse, or indulge in many fun activities including scuba diving, fishing and relaxing. There is also a beautiful gift shop from which you can purchase souvenirs and representations of the lighthouse; so if you hail from outside the US, make sure to bring your credit card or ensure you change your currency into dollars so you can take a small representation of the lighthouse or other beautiful gifts, to your loved ones back home.
Goat Island Lighthouse
Goat Island Lighthouse is a simpler, starker lighthouse than that which can be viewed on The Nubble, though it holds its place in history as being the first beacon to guide sailors into the buzzing Cape Porpoise in the early 1800s. It stands majestically on Goat Island, once the home to the pasturing goats of local herders. The first ever lighthouse was completed in 1823, but failed to adequately mark the shallow reef to the north of the island, causing many boats to crash against the rocks. Therefore, it was decided that it would be of better service off the northern end of Goat Island. Some $67,700 was set aside to build a dike, which would support a brand new 29-foot tower. The lighthouse was automated in 1963 but is still used to help mariners find their way. Goat Island is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This lighthouse has recently been restored to its former glory by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. There are tours of the Island and Lighthouse available in the Summer season.
Wood Island Lighthouse
This lighthouse boasts over 200 years of maritime history and is currently undergoing extensive renovation. In the early 1800s, construction commenced on the building of a light house to help the mariners into Winter Harbor and Saco River; by 1808, the beacon was up and running. In 1857-58, damage to the original wooden structure necessitated reconstruction of the tower and a new fourth order Fresnel lens was added: the dwelling house was also renovated. The lighthouse has been through many small changes; in the 1900s, for instance, the keeper’s house was renovated and in Dutch colonial style; in 1873 a steel fog bell was placed, only to be replaced in 1890 by a metal-cast bell. In the late 1960s a rotating aero beacon replaced the old lantern room, creating a potent light that guided sailors for almost 20 years. Many say that ghosts roam Wood Island, which is home to a famous murder and suicide reported by the Biddeford Daily Journal on June 2, 1896.
Twin Lights Lighthouse
This lighthouse has played host to a number of important scientific, historical cultural events. Built to support the increase in shipping traffic to and from New York, it was completed in 1828, boasting a revolutionary design that cost a whopping $74,000. The site of twin lights was chosen as the backdrop for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as the national oath of loyalty. It was also the first electrically powered lighthouse in America. These lighthouses are easily approached by road so that you may walk around them and experience the sense of place where they guarded the shore.
Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light is one of Maine’s most oft visited sites, since it is Maine’s oldest lighthouse. It is located in Fort Williams Park. The lighthouse was lit for the first time in 1791; it was originally powered by whale oil lamps and it wasn’t until 1864 that a Fresnel lens and cast iron staircase were installed. The tower, which originally measure just 72’ from base to lantern deck, was raised 20’ and a fitted with a second Fresnel lens in 1865. Fort Williams Park, situated in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is a popular tourist attraction in the Portland, ME area. Perhaps most famous for Portland Head Light standing on its grounds, the park has a vast amount of history worth exploring. Portland Headlight is described by many as being the most photographed lighthouse in the world. It was commissioned in the late 1700’s by George Washington and is still operational today.
This blog was written for the inn by by Susan Francis
Nubblelight.org, The History of the Nubble, accessed March, 2015.
Lighthousefriends.org, Newport Harbor (Goat Island), accessed March, 2015.
Woodislandlighthouse.org, History of the Light Tower, accessed March, 2015.
Twinlightslighthouse.com, Touchstone of History, accessed March, 2015.